A 13-YEAR-OLD boy has been arrested after a four-year-old girl was sexually assaulted at a children’s indoor play area in Lancaster.
The incident happened on Saturday lunchtime at The Zone soft play area in Dalton Square and detectives are now appealing for information which could help with their investigation.
The girl told her parents the assault happened while she was playing at The Zone between 12.30pm and 1.30pm. The teenage boy, from Lancaster, has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and is currently on police bail until May 16 pending further enquiries.
Det Insp Phil Jones, who is leading the investigation, said: “This is a very sensitive investigation and we are seeking the help of the public.
“I would ask the parents or relatives of any children who were at The Zone on Saturday between 12.30pm and 2pm to contact the police.
“I would like to stress that at this stage, there is no suggestion that any other child has been a victim. We do believe this to have been an isolated incident.
“However, we are seeking any witnesses that may have seen something suspicious or out of the ordinary.
“The young girl and her parents are currently being supported by specially trained officers and The Zone is fully co-operating with our investigation.”
A spokesman for The Zone said: “We are deeply shocked at recent events. We do our utmost to provide a safe and secure environment for children to play in with their parents supervision.
“This incident was totally beyond our control and it could have happened anywhere. I want to reassure our regular customers that this was an isolated incident.”
Anybody with any information can contact police on 101, quoting log number LC-20130216-1061, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org.
The Zone soft play area was opened in December 2011 in the former Cuba nightclub by husband and wife owners Gillian Peet and Jeff Farrow, from Silverdale.
They also launched similar play areas at Greenlands Farm, Tewitfield, and in Ulverston.
The play facilities cater for children aged up to 11, with junior, toddler and baby play areas.
The building once housed the Palace Cinema, before it was turned into Brooks Nightclub, which was open for 20 years. It then became Cuba.
Police officers will be in The Zone this Saturday to offer reassurance to parents and try to identify any potential witnesses.
A spokesperson from The Zone has asked us to release the statement below on his behalf:
“We are deeply shocked at recent events. We do our utmost to provide a safe and secure environment for children to play in with their parents supervision. This incident was totally beyond our control and it could have happened anywhere. I want to reassure our regular customers that this was an isolated incident.”